Housing Starts in June surged, Mortgage Applications rose, Wells Fargo 450 branch closings

July 19, 2017

The Commerce Department reported on Wednesday that Housing Starts in June surged 8.3% to an annual rate of 1.215 million units, the highest since February and after three straight monthly declines. Single-family starts, which represents the largest share of the residential housing market, rose 6.3%, while the multi-family dwelling sector soared by 13.3%. Housing Starts were up 2.1% from June 2016. Higher lumber prices and shortages of workers and land space could be potential hurdles to jump in the near future for new home building.

The Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) released its weekly mortgage report showing that mortgage application volumes rose in its latest survey. The MBA’s Market Composite Index, a measure of total mortgage loan application volume, rose 6.3% in the latest week. The refinance index jumped 13%, while the purchase index was up 1%. In addition, the 30-year fixed conforming mortgage rate was unchanged at 4.22%. Jumbo 30-year rates climbed to 4.19% from 4.18%, while the FHA rate fell to 4.10% from 4.12%. Those rates usually carry at least a 0.30 point added on top.

Cost cutting continues at one of the nation’s largest banks in the form of branch closures as on line banking ramps up. Wells Fargo recently reported that it will close 450 branches across the nation. The bank said it will close 200 branches in 2017 and 250 in 2018 and has vowed to cut annual costs by $2 billion by the end of 2019. In this digital age, on line and mobile banking has moved to the forefront and will most likely grow even larger in the years to come.

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